In the late 1960s, with the simple idea of substituting pulp made paper with one derived from oil, then cheap, BXL (Bakelite Xylonite Limited) built a prototype production line and registered Polyart as a trademark in February 1968. The oil crisis of the 1970s spurred innovation with an attempt to reduce material usage and cost. The result was an even more paper-like substrate with improved foldability and opacity. The final step was better printability, which was achieved through a joint venture with Arjomari Prioux, a French paper manufacturer that developed a coated Polyart in the early 1980s. The coating also allows embedding of security features, making Polyart one of the rare synthetics used for security printing. In the 1990s, Polyart was the first synthetic used for in-mold labelling of blow-molded bottles.
Since its early beginnings, Polyart has accompanied thousands of printers through the changes in printing, from letterpress to offset, flexo and thermal transfer to the latest in digital technology. Polyart applications cover the widest scope, from tamper evident labels, to heavy duty industrial tags and manuals, and from folded maps, high-end menus or photo albums, to high quality iridescent and textured wine label facestocks.